State Roundup, July 26, 2017

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ANTI-PURPLE LINE GROUP LOBBIES CHAO: A trail advocacy group that has lobbied against construction of the Purple Line for years and spearheaded a federal lawsuit that has delayed the light-rail project is now taking its fight directly to U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, Andrew Metcalf reports for Bethesda Beat.

STATE REACHES SETTLEMENT IN SUIT: Maryland has reached a $400,000 agreement to settle its share of a lawsuit in the 2013 death of Tyrone West from injuries received during a traffic stop in Northeast Baltimore. The settlement is scheduled for a vote today by the state Board of Public Works. It is part of the resolution of a federal lawsuit brought by the 44-year-old man’s family against Baltimore and Morgan State University police, Michael Dresser and Justin Fenton report in the Sun.

  • A second settlement, between the city and the family, is also expected to be completed soon. The lawyer representing the family, confirmed the pending settlements Tuesday but declined to comment until after they are finalized. The city component of the settlement would have to be approved by the Board of Estimates. That panel also meets today, but a payment to West’s family was not on the agenda as of Tuesday afternoon, Bryan Sears writes in the Daily Record.

ARUNDEL’s SAFE STATIONS EXPANDS: Grant money aimed at fighting opioid abuse will be used to expand Anne Arundel County’s fledgling Safe Stations program, reports Amanda Yeager in the Annapolis Capital. County Executive Steve Schuh said Tuesday the county will use $200,000 to hire an additional crisis response team trained in connecting addicts to treatment. The Safe Stations program, which encourages people suffering from addiction to visit any county fire or police station for help without consequences, has seen higher-than-anticipated levels of interest since it launched April 20.

DELANEY DECISION EXPECTED: A source close to U.S. Rep. John Delaney says Delaney is expected to make a weekend announcement declaring his intention not to seek re-election in Maryland’s 6th Congressional District. Delaney – a multimillionaire former business executive who represents Western Maryland and a wide swath of Montgomery County – has long been considered a leading Democratic candidate to take on Maryland’s popular Republican governor, Larry Hogan, in 2018, Ryan Miner of A Miner Detail blog writes.

WRONG MAYOR: Longtime Maryland political pundit Frank DeFilippo writes in Splice Today that Catherine Pugh, mayor of Baltimore, seems to be everywhere but nowhere, an elusive figure in a high-profile job at a time when the city needs a bold leader to kick some butt and get the staggering town moving again.

MO CO BRINGS BACK $15 MINIMUM WAGE BILL: Glynis Kazanjian of MarylandReporter reports that the Montgomery County business community blasted the majority of the Montgomery County Council for re-introducing a revised $15 minimum wage bill without waiting for a county-ordered economic impact study.

TAKOMA PARK ADVANTAGE: For reasons that are not entirely clear, one full third of the nine-member Montgomery County Council hails from little Takoma Park, a town of 18,000 in a county of 1 million. That anomaly is one reason the county’s Charter Review Commission is weighing whether to restructure the council for the first time in 27 years, potentially reducing the number of at-large seats on the council or eliminating them altogether, writes Rachel Siegel in the Post.

NEW TWIST: In a change of pace for Democratic blog Seventh State, they post a commentary from Tom Ferleman, a Republican candidate for Montgomery County Council, laying out his issues for winning Council District 2. These include creating jobs, rolling back tax increases and funding education. There’s a second commentary from Ferleman as well.

CITY GUN BILL: After a marathon hearing interrupted by a 15-minute scuffle between protesters and police, City Council President Jack Young got what he wanted tonight – preliminary passage of a bill that imposes mandatory one-year jail time for carrying a gun near a public place, Mark Reutter of Baltimore Brew reports.